No one really knows the exact reason why ovarian cancer strikes. However, there are risk factors for it which will be discussed below. So keep on reading if you’re a woman and like to know the things that can increase your odds of having ovarian cancer one day.
Before we begin, let’s get one thing straight: just because you have one or more of the risk factors for ovarian cancer doesn’t necessarily mean that you will battle the said type of cancer in the future. A lot of women on the face of the planet have these risk factors and yet they do not have ovarian cancer. Similarly, some women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer did not have any of the risk factors for it.
Different types of cancer have different risk factors. Risk factors such as family history and age cannot be changed but there are also risk factors that can be changed, such as cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
So without any more ado, here are the risk factors for ovarian cancer, according to the American Cancer Society:
The older the woman gets, the higher her risk of having ovarian cancer. Health authorities confirm that ovarian cancer is less likely to affect women who are below 40 years of age. On the other hand, about 50 percent of all ovarian cancer cases are found in women who are 63 years of age or older.
Being Obese or Overweight
Doctors admit that being obese or overweight is regarded as a risk factor for so many different types of cancer, and ovarian cancer is one of those. It is said that being obese or overweight not only increases a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, but also considerably decreases her chance of surviving it.
Not Having Kids
Women who never had kids or full-term pregnancy are at higher risk of having ovarian cancer one day. This does not mean, however, that women who have children are impervious to developing ovarian cancer. Experts say that having kids after 35 years of age is regarded as a risk factor for ovarian cancer.
Just like many types of cancer, ovarian cancer is something that tends to run in families. It only means that you have a higher risk of developing it if your mother, sister, aunt or any other female relative has (or had) ovarian cancer. By the way, doctors say that increased ovarian cancer risk tend to come from the father’s side of the family.
Breast and Ovarian Cancer
Health authorities say that the inherited kind of breast and ovarian cancers can also considerably increase a woman’s odds of having ovarian cancer in the future. That’s because the said cancer types are due to mutations in certain genes. Other than ovarian cancer, pancreatic and colorectal cancer risk is also increased.
In vitro fertilization or IVF, which is a medical procedure in which an egg is fertilized in a test tube or elsewhere outside a female’s body, seems to increase risk of ovarian cancer. Some studies suggest that the use of fertility drugs may increase ovarian cancer risk, while other studies do not say so.
Hormone Therapy for Menopause
Experts say that menopausal women who are undergoing hormone replacement therapy are at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer than those who do not undergo the said treatment. It appears, too, that women who are taking estrogen only and without progesterone for at least 5 years are at higher risk of ovarian cancer.
If you believe that you are at high risk of having ovarian cancer one day, pay your doctor a visit. Cancer screening tests help detect ovarian cancer early when treatment for it works best.